Christmas Gifts…What To Buy For Someone Who Has Everything?

In our family the grandparents are the hardest to buy for. What do you give to someone who has everything, buys what they need when they see it and does not want any other mugs, sweaters or slippers? We have tried everything over the years even gift cards and sometimes they sat in the drawer collecting dust.

It can be tough to come up with different ideas but with a little research and creativity you can give gifts they will love and have fun putting it together. One year I gave my grandma a selection of Birthday cards and stamps for all the people she mailed cards to over the year, her sisters, children, grandchildren and other family members. I put the cards in the order of when their birthdays were so she could just take the top card, write her message and mail it out. She loved it and it made it easy for her to keep track of the many people she sent cards to each year. Another year I went through my grandparents bathroom and kitchen, wrote a list of all the products and brands they used then put together a care package for them each, one of bathroom and household products and another of foods they liked. They really appreciated receiving gifts they could use throughout the year.

Restaurant gift certificates are Great! My parents live out of town and it can be difficult to get together for birthdays. I have a list of all their favourite restaurants where they live and arrange a gift certificate at the restaurant they are going out to for their birthday dinner a couple of days before they go. They enjoy a delicious Birthday dinner on us! It is a nice way to give something they will enjoy and it will not clutter up their home. Massage or pedicure gift certificates can be another service making a great gift especially if they go regularly.

Craft Fairs Can Offer A Variety of Delicious Edible Gift Ideas!

Craft Fairs Can Offer A Variety of Delicious Edible Gift Ideas!

Give them something they can eat! Craft Fairs can offer a delicious variety of gift choices. There is always an abundance of food at craft fairs from jams, jellies, pickled beats and asparagus, honey, cookies, chocolate and more. If your special person is into baking or cooking themselves you could give a ready to make treat in a bag. I have seen everything from soups, stews, cookies, bread and crackers with all the dry ingredients packaged beautifully into a bag or jar and all that has to be done is add an egg, water, milk or soup broth to make a delicious edible gift. Some of the stalls even have hot chocolate in a bag together with marshmallows and a mint stir stick. They make great gifts for a quick meal or treat and are sure to be eaten throughout the year. You could even create your own. Kids love to help make something special for Grandma and Grandpa!

People love something homemade! A plate of baked cookies or treats they can bring out when they have guests is a great gift idea. Even frozen made from scratch savory pies, casseroles or a lasagne they can heat up and have for dinner can be a heart warming gift for the person who has everything.

Give the gift of time! A date with you and their grandchildren might make the perfect gift for a grandparent who doesn’t get to see you very often. Spending time with loved ones is something they treasure most! Take them out for lunch or to their favorite park for a walk or just go over and have tea with them. I guarantee they will love every minute of it!

There are so many ideas out there I would love to hear some of yours! Have you ever received the perfect gift or given a gift that was really appreciated?

Pennies Can Help With Bee Stings and More….

Can a Penny Help With Bee & Wasp Stings?

Can a Penny Help With Bee & Wasp Stings?

Ever hear the phrase “See a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck”? My children’s grandma used to say that phrase all the time when we were out walking together and she would find pennies everywhere. My children loved the game and would be looking all over for their lucky penny. Now in Canada with the discontinuation of the penny it is getting harder and harder to find those lucky copper beauties. Make sure you keep a few though because sometimes they can come in really handy.

I cleaned a few of my old pennies and put a couple in a plastic bag with some band-aids for first aid use. They work really well on Bee and Wasp stings.

Wasp And Bee Stings Can Be Very Painful!

Wasp And Bee Stings Can Be Very Painful!

Just scrape the edge of the penny across the sting to remove the stinger then place the penny on top of the sting and cover it with the band-aid. The copper in the penny counteracts the sting taking away the pain and by the next day you should barely be able to see where the sting was. If someone is allergic though they may still need to seek medical attention. I tried this method out on my son when he got stung by a wasp we were both surprised how well it worked! Now I have penny bee sting kits in all my beach bags, purses, car and kids back packs so we are always prepared.

Putting a penny and a pinch of sugar in a vase with cut flowers will also help keep them fresh longer. The penny helps keep away the algae and the sugar will help to feed the flowers. I have heard a couple drops of bleach will do the same thing as the penny but I think the penny is better for the flowers.

I have a container full of pennies that I keep for various uses. My children have used pennies as game markers and when playing card games, counters for math problems at home and at school (my son’s grade 1 teacher had each student bring in 30 pennies in a small container to keep in their desk for use when they were studying math) and art projects – as part of a collage or one of the 100 days of school projects. However, I still think the best use for a penny is on a bee or wasp sting and they are worth keeping around for that reason alone if nothing else.
Happy Penny Collecting!

My Child’s Art Work…What can I do with it All?

More Pictures! Where Do We Put It All?

More Pictures! Where Will We Put Them?

Kids produce a lot of art work especially from preschool to grade 7. If they love art and take extra classes after school there is even more! Each piece is so precious we hang it on the fridge or pin it to a wall until our house feels devoured by paintings and drawings. Then when our child is at school and we can’t stand it anymore we rip it all down and recycle it hoping they won’t notice when they get home.

At least that is what happened in our home. Sometimes I felt bad about throwing a piece away they had worked so hard on but we just didn’t have the room to keep it all. One year I tried keeping just the ones I really liked and ended up with a pile of dusty crumpled papers under my bed by the end of the year. It too went out to the bin. Then my oldest daughter Marie attended a week long art camp and came home with the most massive painting yet a 4’x4’ cave man painting. She loved it and I must admit it looked pretty cool but it consumed an entire wall. I really wanted to keep a memory of it so, prior to sending it to the bin I hung it up and took some close up photos of it framing the entire photo with her picture.

Turns out that was the best idea yet! From that point on we started taking pictures of all her art work. If the pieces were small enough we could scan them in and get a really clear copy. She didn’t feel so bad when it disappeared because we always had a picture of it she could look at. At the end of the year we had quite a beautiful collection of kid’s art work photos so we decided to print some off into Kids Art Cards and give sets out as Christmas presents that year. Her grandparents loved receiving the gift of homemade art cards and Marie was so proud to show them what she had been doing all year.

To this day I have a collection of my children’s art photos to choose from whenever I need a card printed off. They make great thank you, birthday or any occasion cards and it is a fun way to preserve a masterpiece that may never be produced the same again. 🙂

Sharing the Tradition of Christmas Baking with your Children

Christmas Treats Always Taste Better When Made With Love!

Christmas Treats Always Taste Better When Made With Love!

So many families these days go to the store and buy all their Christmas goodies. The packaged treats in Grocery stores and bakeries make it far too easy for busy families to purchase their Christmas baking and not take the time to make it themselves.

It is worth the effort to bake with your kids even if it is only one traditional family recipe.  Children love baking with their mom and they learn so much in the process. They learn about family traditions, how to measure, mix, stir, bake and of course the best part tasting. They can learn scientific facts about the chemical reaction in baking powder and baking soda and how they make the dough rise. And best of all they get some quality time with mom, something they love any time of year.

I do not bake a lot throughout the year but in December I spend a day with my kids baking some traditional family Holiday treats passed down to me from my mother’s family. My son doesn’t always have the patience for a whole day of baking but he loves to pop in and out of the kitchen and help with the stirring, licking the bowl and tasting. My girls have always loved helping out in the Kitchen.

When my children were younger I would plan at least one recipe we could make together as that would be about the length of their attention span. They loved rolling out gingerbread or shortbread dough and cutting out the cookie shapes. One of their favourite recipes was making Nuts N Bolts. I have revised the recipe so many times I am sure it is different each year and before I can get any, my kids have usually picked out all the pretzels and cheese squares but it is still really yummy. I have added extra pretzels and Cheese Nips in this recipe so I get some too.  When they are packaged up these treats make great Teacher’s gifts too. Feel free to alter the recipe to your own taste as I did. Enjoy!

Nuts N Bolts

1 lb of melted butter 1 small box Cheerios cereal   1 box Life Cereal or Corn Bran
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce 1 small box Shreddies Cereal   3 boxes of Cheese Nips or Straws
1 tbsp onion powder 3 pkg Pretzels
1 tbsp garlic powder 2 ½ cups Cashews
1 tbsp celery salt 2 cups unsalted mixed nuts

Method:

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large clean paper or plastic bag rotate it several times to blend it then fill a roasting pan ¾ full with blended mix. Melt the butter in a 4 quart sauce pan on low, add the Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic powder and celery salt. Heat on low to medium heat stirring occasionally until melted. Using a metal ladle fill with the liquid and pour slowly onto the

Homemade Teacher's Gifts are Always fun to Give!

Homemade Teacher’s Gifts are Always fun to Give!

dry mixture while stirring to blend. (This step is easier done with two people one pouring and one folding and stirring) It takes about ¾ – 1 cup of liquid to coat a large roasting pan full of mix. You can tell you have enough when the pretzels get a slight buttery sheen on them and the mix looks slightly wet. Bake at 225° F with the lid on for about 30 min to heat it through stirring occasionally. Then continue to bake with the lid off for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes until lightly brown and Shreddies with sauce on them are crunchy not soft.

If you would like to cut down on the butter in this recipe you can mix it half and half with olive or grape seed oil instead. Half the fun is experimenting try using your own favorite cereals.

What to do about a Christmas Tree when we are going away for the Holidays?

A Great Alternative to the Traditional Tree!

A Great Alternative to the Traditional Tree!

 

Going away for the Holidays and don’t feel like putting up all those decorations or just want to try something different this Christmas. Why not paint a Christmas tree on your window?  One year when we were going away for Christmas instead of putting up our 7’ Christmas tree and dragging out all our boxes of decorations and lights my cousin and I decided to paint one. It was one of our most unique and memorable Christmas Trees ever. My kids made a few decorations out of construction paper and we picked up some candy canes to hang on it. We even put up some lights to make it more festive at night. Then we painted the rest of the windows in the living room with stockings and snowmen. It was great fun and to this day the kids still want to paint the windows for Christmas.

A festive Snowman to make any window brighter!

A festive Snowman to make any window brighter!

The tree was really simple to do; I made up some paint using tempera paint powder, water and a bit of dish soap. (The soap makes it easier to take off the window later). You could also buy window paint at a craft store but it could get expensive as you will need quite a bit of it.We drew the outline of the tree on the window then arranged suction cups for the lights within the tree. After filling in the tree with paint and painting the rest of the decorations on the windows we added the Christmas lights and hung the homemade decorations the kids had made on the suction cups and light cords. The kids had lots of fun making decorations and when we got back from our Christmas Holiday we just washed the windows with some wet paper towels to take off the paint. It was a great alternative to spending the day taking down and boxing a bunch of decorations.

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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